24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Solid Four and One Half Stars for this Western with a Twist!,
This review is from: Cowboys & Aliens (DVD)
No spoilers here, because I hope you'll see this fun film!
The title gives you the main plot. Aliens encounter Earthlings, but they don't do it in the modern era, but back 125 years ago, perhaps 20 years after the Civil War. And why not? Do aliens wait until the present time to decide to take a side trip to good ole Earth?
Playing as a straight Western, which is where most of the movie is set, Cowboys and Aliens is a pretty darn good one. Based upon a graphic novel (fancy comic book), C&A has a great look. It's dirty and dusty, and the small, dying Western town looks just right. Cinematographer Matthew Libatique uses the New Mexico locations to his advantage here. The rugged landscape is forbidding, stark, and desolate.
The plot as a Western isn't terribly original, but it's a decent one. There are good guys in the town, and bad guys, with a ne're-do-well son of the town's richest citizen making trouble as they just seem wont to do.
Then, the aliens show up.
The special effects, some of which are done by Industrial Light and Magic, and as good as you'd expect (although why do aliens always have to be so complex looking? They ooze mucus, they have body parts which open up and reveal surprises, and they just don't look as streamlined as, say, humans do.). Anyway, the special effects are excellent, the flying craft excellent, and the explosions are very well done.
Over all, the film gets four-and-a-half stars. Harrison Ford is looking as craggy as he ages nicely. Daniel Craig is as tough as they come, and Olivia Wilde (best known as one of the docs from 'House') is pretty, thin, and angular as you remember. The pace never falters, and the action non-stop, and there are the predictable surprises that bring a big gasp from the audience. There are a few plot 'huhs?', such as the reason for the aliens moseying down the space trail to Earth, but it is internally consistent if you buy why they are here.
Recommended. A good, solid, big-budget summer blockbuster from Dreamworks.